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We do not mention this writer as attaching any value to his opinions ;
and as a man. The assertion that the most inventive of poets was second in the collection of “ Comedies.” The Tempest, which it without invention as far as regards the fable of his plays," is as can scarcely be doubted was one of Shakspere's latest plays, pre- absurd as to say that Scott did not invent the fable of “ Kenilworth,” cedes it. The arrangement of that edition, except in the three because the sad tale of Amy Robsart is found in Mickle's beautiful divisions of “Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies," and in the order ballad of “Cumnor Hall.” The truth is, that no one can properly of events in the “Histories," is quite arbitrary. It is extremely appreciate the extent as well as the subtlety of Shakspere's invention difficult, if not impossible, to fix a precise date to many of Shak- -its absorbing and purifying power—who has not traced him to his spere's plays; and the reasons which Malone, Chalmers, and Drake
It will be our duty, in many cases, to direct especial have given for the determining of an exact chronological order in attention to the material upon which Shakspere worked, to shew how which they each differ), are, to our minds, in most instances, unsatis- the rough ore became, under his hands, pure and resplendent, factory. In the instance before us, Malone originally ascribed the converted into something above all price by the unapproachable skill play to the year 1595, because the lines which we shall have of the artist. It is not the workman polishing the diamond, but occasion afterwards to notice,
converting, by his wonderful alchemy, something of small value into
the diamond. It is, in a word, precisely the same process by which “Some, to the wars, to try their fortunes there;
the unhewn block of marble is fabricated into the perfect statue: the Some, to discover islands far away;"
statue is within the marble, but the Phidias calls it forth The he thought had reference to Elizabeth's military aid to Henry IV., student of Shakspere will understand that we here more particularly and to Raleigh's expedition to Guiana. He has subsequently fixed allude to the great plays which are founded on previous imaginative the date of its being written as 1591, because there was an expedition works, such as Romeo and Juliet, and Lear; and not to those in to France under Essex in that year. The truth is, as we shall shew, which, like the Two Gentlemen of Verona, a few incidents are that the excitements of military adventure, and of maritime discovery, borrowed from the romance writers. had become the most familiar objects of ambition, from the period of “But what shall we do?" said the barber in “Don Quixote,” when, Shakspere's first arrival in London to nearly the end of the century. with the priest, the housekeeper, and the niece, he was engaged in The other arguments of Malone for placing the date of this play in making bonfire of the knight's library—“what shall we do with these
little books that remain ?” “These," said the priest, “are probably not 1591, appear to us as little to be regarded. They are, that the incident of Valentine joining the outlaws has a resemblance to a books of chivalry, but of poetry.” And opening one, he found it was the passage in Sidney's “ Arcadia,” which was not published till 1590 ;- “Diana" of George Montemayor, and said (believing all the rest of the that there are two allusions to the story of Hero and Leander, which same kind), “ These do not deserve to be burnt like the rest, for they he thinks were suggested by Marlowe's poem on that subject; and cannot do the mischief that these of chivalry have done: they are that there is also an allusion to the story of Phaeton, which Steevens works of genius and fancy, and do nobody any hurt.” Such was the thinks Shakspere derived from the old play of King John, printed in criticism of Cervantes upon the“Diana" of Montemayor. The romance
was the most popular which had appeared in Spain since the days of 1591. All this is really very feeble conjecture, and it is absolutely
Amadis de Gaul;t and it was translated into English by Bartholomew all that is brought to shew an exact date for this play. The incident of Valentine is scarcely a coincidence, compared with the story in Yong, and published in 1598. The story involves a perpetual confuthe “Arcadia ;”—and if Shakspere knew nothing of the classical fables sion of modern manners and ancient mythology; and Ceres, Minerva, from direct sources (which it is always the delight of the commenta- and Venus, as well as the saints, constitute the machinery The one tors to suppose), every palace and mansion was filled with Tapestry, part which Shakspere has borrowed, or is supposed to have borrowed, in which the subjects of Hero and Leander, and of Phaeton, were is the story of the shepherdess Felismena, which is thus translated constantly to be found. Malone, for these and for no other reasons, by Mr. Dunlop :“The first part of the threats of Venus was speedily thinks the Two Gentlemen of Verona was produced in 1591, when its accomplished; and, my father having early followed my mother to author was twenty-seven years of age. But he thinks, at the same the tomb, I was left an orphan. Henceforth I resided at the house
of a distant relative; and, having attained my seventeenth year, time, that it was Shakspere's first play.
became the victim of the offended goddess, by falling in love with
Don Felix, a young nobleman of the province in which I lived. The
object of my affections felt a reciprocal passion; but his father, A charge which has been urged against Shakspere, with singular having learned the attachment which subsisted between us, sent his complacency on the part of the accusers, is, that he did not invent son to court, with a view to prevent our union. Soon after his his plots. A recent writer, who in these later days has thought that departure, I followed him in the disguise of a page, and discovered to disparage Shakspere would be a commendable task, says, “If on the night of my arrival at the capital, by a serenade I heard him Shakspere had little of what the world calls learning, he had less
* Life of Shakspere in Lardner's Cyclopædia. of invention, so far as regards the fable of his plays. For every one
† Dunlop's History of Fiction.
THE TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA.
generalization, and, by so doing, invest it with some of the attributes of reality. The poetical value of this single line
“ Attends the emperor in his royal court,”
give, that Don Felix had already disposed of his affections. Without being recognised by him, I was admitted into his service, and was engaged by my former lover to conduct his correspondence with the mistress who, since our separation, had supplanted me in his heart."
This species of incident, it is truly observed by Steevens, and afterwards by Dunlop, is found in many of the ancient novels. In Twelfth Night, where Shakspere is supposed to have copied Bandello, the same adventure occurs; but in that delightful comedy, the lady to whom the page in disguise is sent, falls in love with him. Such is the story of Felismena. It is, however, clear that Shakspere must have known this part of the romance of Montemayor, although the translation of Yong was not published till 1598; for the pretty dialogue between Julia and Lucetta, in the first act, where Julia upbraids her servant for bringing the letter of Proteus, corresponds, even to some turns of expression, with a similar description by Felismena, of her love's history. We give a passage from the old translation by Bartholomew Yong, which will enable our readers to compare the romance writer and the dramatist :
“ Yet to try, if by giving her some occasion I might prevaile, I saide unto her And is it so, Rosina, that Don Felix, without any regard to mine honour, dares write unto me? These are things, mistresse (saide she demurely to me again), that are commonly incident to love, wherefore, I beseech you, pardon me; for if I had thought to have angered you with it, I would have first pulled out the bals of mine eies. How cold my hart was at that blow, God knowes : yet did I dissemble the matter, and suffer myself to remain that night only with my desire, and with occasion of little sleepe.”—(p. 55.)
Those who are curious to trace this subject further, may find all that Shakspere is supposed to have borrowed from Montemayor in the third volume of “Shakspeare Illustrated," by Mrs. Lenox. We have compared this lady's translation of the passages with that of Bartholomew Yong. The substance is correctly given, though her verbal alterations are not improvements of the quaint prose of the times of Elizabeth.
The writer in Lardner's Cyclopædia, whom we have been already compelled to mention, says, “The Two Gentlemen of Verona (a very poor drama), is indebted for many of its incidents to two works—the Arcadia' of Sidney, and the 'Diana' of Montemayor." This writer had neither taken the trouble to examine for himself, nor to report correctly what others had said who had examined.
The single incident in Sidney's “Arcadia” which bears the slightest resemblance to the story of the Two Gentlemen of Verona, is where Pyrocles, one of the two heroes of the “Arcadia," is compelled to become the captain of a band of people called Helots, who had revolted from the Lacedemonians; and this is supposed to have given origin to the thoroughly Italian incident of Valentine being compelled to become the captain of the outlaws. The English travellers in Italy, in the time of Shakspere, were perfectly familiar with banditti, often headed by daring adventurers of good family. Fynes Moryson, who travelled between Rome and Naples in 1594, has described a band headed by “the nephew of the Cardinal Cajetano." We may, therefore, fairly leave the uninventive Shakspere to have found his outlaws in other narratives besides that of the “ Arcadia.” With regard to the “ Diana" of Montemayor, we have stated the entire amount of what the author of the Two Gentlemen of Verona is supposed to have borrowed from it.
can only be felt by those who desire to attach precise images to the descriptions which poetry seeks to put before the mind, and, above all, to the incidents which dramatic poetry endeavours to group and embody. Had this line not occurred in the play before us, we should have had a very vague idea of the scenes which are here presented to us; and, as it is, the poet has left just such an amount of vagueness as is quite compatible with the free conduct of his plot. He is not here dramatizing history. He does not undertake to bring before us the fierce struggles for the real sovereignty of the Milanese between Francis I. and the Emperor Charles V., while Francesco Sforza, the Duke of Milan, held a precarious and disputed authority. He does not pretend to tell us of the dire calamities, the subtle intrigues, and the wonderful reverses which preceded the complete subjection of Italy to the conqueror at Pavia. He does not shew us the unhappy condition of Milan, in 1529, when, according to Guicciardini, the poor people who could not buy provisions at the exorbitant prices demanded by the governor died in the streets,—when the greater number of the nobility fled from the city, and those who remained were miserably poor, and when the most frequented places were overgrown with grass, nettles, and brambles. He gives us a peaceful period, when courtiers talked lively jests in the duke's saloons, and serenaded their mistresses in the duke's courts. This state of things might have existed during the short period between the treaty of Cambray, in 1529 (when Francis J. gave up all claims to Milan, and it became a fief of the empire under Charles V.), and the death of Francesco Sforza in 1535; or it might have existed at an earlier period in the life of Sforza, when, after the battle of Pavia, he was restored to the dukedom of Milan; or when, in 1525, he received a formal investiture of his dignity. All that Shakspere attempted to define was some period when there was a Duke of Milan holding his authority in a greater or less degree under the emperor. That period might have been before the time of Francesco Sforza. It could not have been after it, because, upon the death of that prince, the contest for the sovereignty of the Milanese was renewed between Francis I. and Charles V., till, in 1540, Charles invested his son Philip (afterwards husband of Mary of England) with the title, and the separate honours of a Duke of Milan became merged in the imperial family.
The one historical fact, then, mentioned in this play, is that of the emperor holding his court at Milan, which was under the government of a duke, who was a vassal of the empire. Assuming that this fact prescribes a limit to the period of the action, we must necessarily place that period at least half a century before the date of the composition of this drama. Such a period may, or may not, have been in Shakspere's mind. It was scarcely necessary for him to have defined the period for the purpose of making his play more intelligible to his audience. That was all the purpose he had to accomplish. He was not, as we have said before, teaching history, in which he had to aim at all the exactness that was compatible with the exercise of his dramatic art. He had here, as in many other cases, to tell a purely romantic story; and all that he had to provide for with reference to what is called costume, in the largest sense of that word, was that he should not put his characters in any positions, or conduct his story through any details, which should run counter to the actual knowledge, or even to the conventional opinions of his audience. That this was the theory upon which he worked as an artist we have little doubt; and that he carried this theory even into wilful anachronisms we are quite willing to believe. He saw, and we think correctly, that there was not less real impropriety in making the ancient Greeks speak English than in making the same Greeks describe the maiden“ in shady cloister mew'd,” by the modern name of a nun. He had to translate the images of the Greeks, as weli
PERIOD OF THE ACTION, AND MANNERS.
Amongst the objections which Dr. Johnson, in the discharge of his critical office, appears to have thought it his duty to raise against every play of Shakspere, he says, with regard to the plot of this play, “he places the emperor at Milan, and sends his young men to attend him, but never mentions him more.” As the emperor had nothing whatever to do with the story of the Two Gentlemen of Verona, it was quite unnecessary that Shakspere should mention him more; and the mention of him at all was only demanded by a poetical law, which Shakspere well understood, by which the introduction of a few definite circumstances, either of time or place, is sought for, to take the conduct of a story, in ever so small a degree, out of the region of
* Act I. Scene III. † Midsummer Night's Dream,
as their language, into forms of words that an uncritical English audience would apprehend. Keeping this principle in view, whenever we meet with a commentator lifting up his eyes in astonishment at the prodigious ignorance of Shakspere, with regard to geography, and chronology, and a thousand other proprieties, to which the empire of poetry has been subjected by the inroads of modern accuracy, we picture to ourselves a far different being from the rude workman which their pedantic demonstrations have figured as the beau-idéal of the greatest of poets. We see the most skilful artist employing his materials in the precise mode in which he intended to employ them ; displaying as much knowledge as he intended to display; and, after all, committing fewer positive blunders, and incurring fewer violations of accuracy, than any equally prolific poet before or after him. If we compare, for example, the violations of historical truth on the part of Shakspere, who lived in an age when all history came dim and dreamy before the popular eye, and on the part of Sir Walter Scott, who lived in an age when all history was reduced to a tabular exactness—if we compare the great dramatist and the great novelist in this one point alone, we shall find that the man who belongs to the age of accuracy is many degrees more
inaccurate than the man who belongs to the age of fable. There is, | in truth, a philosophical point of view in which we must seek for the
olution of those contradictions of what is real and probable, which, in Shakspere, his self-complacent critics are always delighted to refer to his ignorance. One of their greatest discoveries of his geographical ignorance is furnished in this play :-Proteus and his servant go to Milan by water. It is perfectly true that Verona is inland, and that even the river Adige, which waters Verona, does not take its course by Milan. Shakspere, therefore, was most ignorant of geography! In Shakspere's days countries were not so exactly mapped out as in our own, and therefore he may, from lack of knowledge, have made a boat sail from Verona, and have given Bohemia a sea-board. But let it be borne in mind that, in numberless other instances, Shakspere has displayed the most exact acquaintance with what we call geography-an acquaintance not only with the territorial boundaries, and the physical features of particular countries, but with a thousand nice peculiarities connected with their government and customs, which nothing but the most diligent reading and inquiry could furnish. Is there not, therefore, another solution of the ship at Verona, and the sea-board of Bohemia, than Shakspere's ignorance? Might not his knowledge have been in subjection to what he required, or fancied he required, for the conduct of his dramatic incidents? Why does Scott make the murder of a Bishop of Liege, by William de la Marck, the great cause of the quarrel between Charles the Bold and Louis XI., to revenge which murder the combined forces of Burgundy and France stormed the city of Liege,, when, at the period of the insurrection of the Liegeois described in “
Quentin Durward,” no William de la Marck was upon the real scene, and the murder of a Bishop of Liege by him took place fourteen years afterwards ? No one, we suppose, imputes this inaccuracy to historical ignorance in Scott. He was writing a romance, we say, and he therefore thought fit to sacrifice historical truth. The real question, in all these cases, to be asked, is, Has the writer of imagination gained by the violation of propriety a full equivalent for what he has lost? In the case of Shakspere we are not to determine this question by a reference to the actual state of popular knowledge in our time. What startles us as a violation of propriety was received by the audience of Shakspere as a fact,—or, what was nearer the poet's mind, the fact was held by the audience to be in subjection to the fable which he sought to present ;-the world of reality lived in a larger world of art ;-art divested the real of its formal shapes, and made its hard masses plastic. In our own. days we have lost the power of surrendering our understanding, spellbound, to the witchery of the dramatic poet We cannot sit for two hours enchained to the one scene which equally represents Verona or. Milan, Rome or London, and ask no aid to our senses beyond what the poet supplies us in his dialogue. We must now have changing
scenes, which carry us to new localities; and pauses to enable us to comprehend the time which has elapsed in the progress of the action; and appropriate dresses, that we may at once distinguish a king from a peasant, and a Roman from a Greek. None of these aids had our ancestors ;-but they had what we have not-a thorough love of the dramatic art in its highest range, and an appreciation of its legitimate authority. Wherever the wand of the enchanter waved, there were they ready to come within his circle and to be mute.
They did not ask, as we have been accustomed to ask, for happy Lears and unmetaphysical Hamlets. They were content to weep scalding tears with the old king, when his "poor fool was hanged," and to speculate with the unresolving prince even to the extremest depths of his subtlety. They did not require tragedy to become a blustering melodrame, or comedy a pert farce. They could endure poetry and wit —they understood the alternations of movement and repose.
We have, in our character of audience, become degraded even by our advance in many appliances of civilization with regard to which the audiences of Shakspere were wholly ignorant. We know many small things exactly, which they were content to leave unstudied; but we have lost the perception of many grand and beautiful things which they received instinctively and without effort. They had great artists working for them, who knew that the range of their art would carry them far beyond the hard, dry, literal copying of every-day Nature which we call Art; and they laid down their shreds and patches of accurate knowledge as a tribute to the conquerors who came to subdue them to the dominion of imagination. What cared they, then, if a ship set sail from Verona to Milan, when Valentine and his man ought to have departed in a carriage ;-or what mattered it if Hamlet went “to school at Wittemberg," when the real Hamlet was in being five centuries before the university of Wittemberg was founded! If Shakspere had lived in this age, he might have looked more carefully into his maps and his encyclopædias. We might have gained something, but what should we not have lost !
We have been somewhat wandering from the immediate subject before us; but we considered it right, upon the threshold of our enterprise, to make a profession of faith with regard to what many are accustomed to consider irredeemable violations of propriety in Shakspere. We believe the time is passed when it can afford any satisfaction to an Englishman to hear the greatest of our poets perpetually held up to ridicule as a sort of inspired barbarian, who worked without method, and wholly without learning. But before Shakspere can be properly understood, the popular mind must be led in an opposite direction; and we must all learn to regard him, as he really was, as the most consummate of artists, who had a complete and absolute control over all the materials and instruments of his art, without any subordination to mere impulses and caprices,-with entire self-possession and perfect knowledge.
“Shakspere," says Malone, “is fond of alluding to events occurring at the time when he wrote ;" and Johnson observes that many passages in his works evidently shew that “he often took advantage of the facts then recent, and the passions then in motion.” † This was a part of the method of Shakspere, by which he fixed the attention of his audience. The Nurse in Romeo and Juliet says, “ It is now since the earthquake eleven years." Dame Quickly, in the Merry Wives of Windsor, talks of her“ knights, and lords, and gentlemen, with their coaches, I warrant you, coach after coach.” Coaches came into general use about 1605. “ Banks's horse," which was exhibited in London in 1589, is mentioned in Love's Labour's Lost. These, amongst many other instances which we shall have occasion to notice, are not to be regarded as determining the period of the dramatic action; and, indeed, they are, in many cases, decided anachronisms. In the Two Gentlemen of Verona, there are several very curious and interesting passages which have distinct reference to the times of Elizabeth, and which, if Milan had then been under a separate ducal government, would have warranted us in placing
The allusions which we thus find in this comedy to the pursuits of the gallant spirits of the court of Elizabeth are very marked. The incidental notices of the general condition of the people are less decided; but a few passages that have reference to popular manners may be pointed out.
The boyhood of Shakspere was passed in a country town where the practices of the Catholic church had not been wholly eradicated either by severity or reason. We have one or two passing notices of these. Proteus, in the first scene, says
“I will be thy beadsman, Valentine.”
the action of this play about half a century later than we have done. As it is, the passages are remarkable examples of Shakspere's close attention to “facts then recent;" and they show us that the spirit of enterprise, and the intellectual activity which distinguished the period when Shakspere first began to write for the stage, found a reflection in the allusions of this accurate observer. We have noted these circumstances more particularly in our illustrations; but a rapid enumeration of them may not be unprofitable.
In the scene between Antonio and Panthino, where the father is recommended to “put forth” his son " to seek preferment,” we have a brief but most accurate recapitulation of the stirring objects that called forth the energies of the master-spirits of the court of Elizabeth :-:
“Some, to the wars, to try their fortunes there ;
Some, to discover islands far away ;
Some, to the studious universities." Here, in three lines, we have a recital of the great principles that, either separately, or more frequently in combination, gave their impulses to the ambition of an Essex, a Sidney, a Raleigh, and a Drake :—War, still conducted in a chivalrous spirit, though with especial reference to the “preferment” of the soldier ;-Discovery, impelled by the rapid development of the commercial resources of the nation, and carried on in a temper of enthusiasm which was prompted by extraordinary success and extravagant hope ;-and Knowledge, a thirst for which had been excited throughout Europe by the progress of the Reformation and the invention of printing, which opened the stores of learning freely to all men.
These -pursuits had succeeded to the fierce and demoralizing passions of our long civil wars, and the more terrible contentions that had accompanied the great change in the national religion. The nation had at length what, by comparison, was a settled Government. It could scarcely be said to be at war; for the assistance which Elizabeth afforded to the Hugonots in France, and to those who fought for freedom of conscience and for independence of Spanish dominion in the Netherlands, gave a healthy stimulus to the soldiers of fortune who drew their swords for Henry of Navarre and Maurice of Nassau ;—and though the English people might occasionally lament the fate of some brave and accomplished leader, as they wept for the death of Sidney at Zutphen, there was little of general suffering that might make them look upon those wars as anything more to be dreaded than some well-fought tournament. Shakspere, indeed, has not forgotten the connexion between the fields where honour and fortune were to be won by wounds, and the knightly lists where the game of mimic war was still played upon a magnificent scale; where the courtier might, without personal danger,
Shakspere had, doubtless, seen the rosary still worn, and the “ beads bidden," perhaps even in his own house. Julia compares the strength of her affection to the unwearied steps of “the true-devoted pilgrim.” Shakspere had, perhaps, heard the tale of some ancient denizen of a ruined abbey, who had made the pilgrimage to the shrine of our Lady at Loretto, or had even visited the sacred tomb at Jerusalem. Thurio and Proteus are to meet at “Saint Gregory's well.” This is the only instance in Shakspere in which a holy well is mentioned; but how often must he have seen the country people, in the early summer morning, or after their daily labour, resorting to the fountain which had been hallowed from the Saxon times as under the guardian influence of some venerated saint. These wells were closed and neglected in London when Stowe wrote; but at the beginning of the last century, the custom of making journeys to them, according to Bourne, still existed among the people of the North; and he considers it to be “ the remains of that superstitious practice of the Papists of paying adoration to wells and fountains." This play contains several indications of the prevailing taste for music, and exhibits an audience proficient in its technical terms; for Shakspere never addressed words to his hearers which they could not understand. This taste was a distinguishing characteristic of the age of Elizabeth; it was not extinct in that of the first Charles ; but it was lost amidst the puritanism of the Commonwealth and the profligacy of the Restoration, and has yet to be born again amongst us. There is one allusion in this play to the games of the people"bid the base,"—which shows us that the social sport which the school-boy and school-girl still enjoy,—that of prison base, or prison bars,—and which still makes the village green vocal with their mirth on a fine evening of spring, was a game of Shakspere's days. In the long winter nights the farmer's hearth was made cheerful by the wellknown ballads of Robin Hood; and to “Robin Hood's fat friar" Shakspere makes his Italian outlaws allude. But with music, and sports, and ales, and old wife's stories, there was still much misery in the land. “ The beggar" not only spake “puling” “at Hallowmas,” but his importunities or his threats were heard at all seasons. The disease of the country was vagrancy; and to this deep-rooted evil there were only applied the surface remedies to which Launce alludes, “the stocks” and “the pillory.” The whole nation was still in a state of transition from semi-barbarism to civilization; but the foundations of modern society had been laid. The labourers had ceased to be vassals; the middle class had been created; the power of the aristocracy had been humbled, and the nobles had clustered round the sovereign, having cast aside the low tastes which had belonged to their fierce condition of independent chieftains. This was a state in which literature might, without degradation, be adapted to the wants of the general people; and “the best public instructor” then was the drama. Shakspere found the taste created; but it was for him, most especially, to purify and exalt it.
It is scarcely necessary, perhaps, to caution our readers against imagining that because Shakspere in this, as in all his plays, has some reference to the manners of his own country and times, he has given a false representation of the manners of the persons whom he brings upon his scene. The tone of the Two Gentlemen of Verona is, perhaps, not so thoroughly Italian as some of his later plays—the Merchant of Venice, for example; but we all along feel that his characters are not English. The allusions to home customs which
The period at which the incidents of this play are supposed to have taken place may be our guide in the selection of its COSTUME. It is fixed, as we have previously noticed, by the mention of the Emperor holding “his Royal Court” at Milan, while there was a sovereign prince of that particular duchy.
Cesare Vecellio, the brother of Titian, in his curious work, “ Habiti Antiche e Moderni di tutto il mondo," completed in 1589, presents us with the general costume of the noblemen and gentlemen of Italy at the period we have mentioned, which has been made familiar to us by the well-known portraits of the contemporary mond
onarchs, Francis I. and our own Henry VIII. He tells us they wore a sort of diadem surmounted by a turban-like cap of gold tissue, or embroidered silk, a plaited shirt low in the neck with a small band or ruff, a coat or cassock of the German fashion, short in the waist and reaching to the knee, having sleeves down to the elbow, and from thence showing the arm covered only by the shirt with wristbands or ruffles. The cassock was ornamented with stripes or borders of cloth, silk, or velvet of different colours, or of gold lace or embroidery, according to the wealth or taste of the wearer. With this dress they sometimes wore doublets and stomachers, or placcards, as they were called, of different colours, their shoes being of velvet, like those of the Germans, that is, very broad at the toes. Over these cassocks again were occasionally worn cloaks or mantles of silk, velvet, or cloth of gold, with ample turn-over collars of fur or velvet, having large arm-holes through which the full puffed sleeves of the cassock passed, and sometimes loose hanging sleeves of their own, which could either be worn over the others or thrown behind at pleasure.
Nicholas Hoghenberg, in his curious series of prints exhibiting the triumphal processions and other ceremonies attending the entry of Charles V. into Bologna, A.D. 1530, affords us some fine specimens of the costume at this period, worn by the German and Italian nobles in the train of the Emperor. Some are in the cassocks
described by Vecellio, others in doublets with slashed hose ; confined both above and below knee by garters of silk or gold. The turban head-dress is worn by the principal herald; but the nobles generally have caps or bonnets of cloth or velvet placed on the side of the head, sometimes over a caul of gold, and ornamented with feathers, in some instances profusely. These are most probably the Milan caps or bonnets of which we hear so much in wardrobe accounts and other records of the time. They were sometimes slashed and puffed round the edges, and adorned with “points” or “agletts,” i.e., tags or aiguillettes. The feathers in them, also, were occasionally ornamented with drops or spangles of gold, and jewelled up the quills.
Milan was likewise celebrated for its silk hose. In the inventory of the wardrobe of Henry VIII., Harleian MSS., Nos. 1419 and 1420, mention is made of “ a pair of hose of purple silk, and Venice gold, woven like unto a caul, lined with blue silver sarcenet, edged with a passemain of purple silk and gold, wrought at Milan, and one pair of hose of white silk and gold knits, bought of Christopher Millener." Our readers need scarcely be told that the present term milliner is derived from Milan, in consequence of the reputation of that city for its fabrication as well “ of weeds of peace” as of “ harness for war;" but it may be necessary to inform them that by hose at this period is invariably meant breeches or upper stocks, the stockings, or nether stocks, beginning now to form a separate portion of male attire.
The ladies, we learn from Vecellio, wore the same sort of turbaned head-dress as the men, resplendent with various colours, and embroidered with gold and silk in the form of rose leaves and other devices. Their neck chains and girdles were of gold, and of great value. To the latter were attached fans or feathers with richly ornamented gold handles. Instead of a veil they wore a sort of collar or neckerchief (Bavaro) of lawn or cambric, pinched or plaited. The skirts of their gowns were usually of damask, either crimson or purple, with a border lace or trimming round the bottom, a quarter of a yard in depth. The sleeves were of velvet or other stuff, large and slashed, so as to show the lining or under garment, terminating with a small band or ruffle like that round the edge of the collar. The body of the dress was of gold stuff or embroidery. Some of the dresses were made with trains which were either held up by the hand when walking, or attached to the girdle. The head-dress of gold brocade given in one of the plates of Vecellio is not unlike the beretta of the Doge of Venice; and caps very similar in form and material are still worn in the neighbourhood of Linz in Upper Austria.
The Milan bonnet was also worn by ladies as well as men at this period. Hall, the chronicler, speaks of some who wore “Myllain bonnets of crymosyne sattin drawn through (i.e., slashed and puffed) with cloth of gold ;” and in the roll of provisions for the marriage of the daughters of Sir John Nevil, tempore Henry VIII., the price of “a Millan bonnet, dressed with agletts,” is marked as Jus.